Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean has the story about our undergraduate research pipeline. It was also picked-up by the Chalkboard education newsletter/website.

A new health sciences A.S. degree and an African-American Literature class are new for fall and also in the Tennessean.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Vol State Growing Research with a Student Pipeline

The numbers are stunning. There will be a need for one million more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals than the United States will produce in the next few years. There has been a 17 percent increase in job growth for STEM fields. That’s according to a report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The question is- how do we produce more science professionals? Volunteer State Community College is teaming up with area high schools to grow a science research pipeline for students. Lebanon High School students gathered recently at Vol State to show off their laboratory skills. The partnership between the college and high school has big goals.

“The idea is to give students the ability to walk into a laboratory and know what they are doing,” said Math and Science Dean Phil Clifford. “That’s going to put them head and shoulders above other students in school.”

“These students will start their college career with a huge leg up,” said Lebanon High School teacher Melissa Bunch. “They’re doing molecular biology in my lab right now.”

Lebanon High School is now offering dual credit courses in key research areas. The classes are taught at the college level and provide both high school and college credit. Lebanon is also leading the way as the first high school in the state to have biotechnology program. “The pathway from high school to community college to university is a big selling point,” Bunch said.

That pipeline starts with science research and lab work in high school and continues it with undergraduate research at Vol State.  “We’re trying to grow our undergraduate research program by finding the right students,” said Assistant Professor of Biology Joe Dolan. “If we can reach into the high schools and find students, it will help us identify them for our undergraduate research at Vol State.”

The Vol State research then provides students a direct path to university research. “We are partnering with several local universities that are interested in accepting our students,” said Clifford.

“I’m hoping to pursue bio-chemistry or chemical engineering,” said Lebanon High School student Hunter Fugate. “I want to be at a lab bench wherever I go.”

“I love the hands-on part,” said student Melissa Crespo. “The career I want to go into is forensic science. There’s a lot of lab work in that. This will give me a real advantage.”

The Vol State and Lebanon High School partnership also reaches out to the business community with a nine week internship at a biotech company. “All of this gives students exposure to lab research, so they can make wise career choices down the road,” Clifford added.

For more information on science education at Vol State visit:

This is a link to the 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sign-Up Now for Free Educational Eclipse Event August 21

Are you searching for a fun and educational total eclipse watching event on August 21?
Volunteer State Community College is hosting a free eclipse event on the campus in Gallatin at 1480 Nashville Pike from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is open to everyone. We will have educational presentations, fun science exhibits for kids and adults, and live narration during the totality. Many of our pre-eclipse activities will be held in air-conditioned buildings. Registration is requested. Join us, but please sign-up soon. We will close registration when we reach capacity.
Visit our registraton page for details and to sign-up.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Student Foodbank Food Drive

Plans for a student food bank are moving forward. You may have seen or participated in the food drive to stock the pantry. The TRIO Office was just one of many offices participating. The TRIO staff and students brought in 203 food items for the cause, far surpassing their goal of 167.

The pantry will be called “The Feed”. Organizers say they hope to have it open for the fall semester. It will be located in the Ramer Building. We’ll have much more on the opening and how it will work later this summer.

A Big Career Expo Fair

Congrats to everyone who  participated in the 2017 Career Expo Fair recently. The event was held for 2,700 eighth graders from Sumner, Trousdale and Macon County schools. It's designed to help them explore career fields and figure out the educational pathway to get there. It was the biggest year yet for the event. Dozens of Vol State faculty and staff worked to make it happen.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vol State in the News

We launched a publicity campaign for the Mechatronics program, which starts here in Gallatin, and continues in Cookeville, this fall. The Tennessean ran our news release.

The Tennessean also has coverage of the Vol State Cap and Gown bike ride from this past weekend.

2,700 middle school students came to campus for the annual Career Exploration Fair. The event involved Vol State faculty and staff and many visiting professionals, all offering advice and info for students interested in various career paths. Here is a Tennessean story.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Vol State TSBDC Celebrates 10 Years Serving Small Business

Small business owners often need help navigating the marketplace. With 2,000 clients, 188 business starts and more than $25 million in capital formation, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Volunteer State Community College has been providing that assistance. The Vol State TSBDC is celebrating a ten-year anniversary. Clients say they have benefited with everything from formulating business plans to advice in marketing. The TSBDC offers free workshops, classes and one-on-one help.

“I received so much great advice and encouragement from Charles and TSBDC when I started my business.  I still hear his voice in my head saying that it just takes time to build a business,” said Kristie Rigdon of My Veggie Chef. 

“We are so grateful to Charles Alexander and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center for helping us successfully launch our new venture, Pour Vous Wine, Spirits and Beer Warehouse,” said Evelyn Bonds. “What an awesome resource they were to us for developing and implementing a marketing plan appropriate for our industry, location and size.  The research and free seminars were invaluable and represented a huge cost savings.” 

TSBDC clients come from a wide-variety of business types, have including restaurants, recycling companies and insurance companies.

“This has been a very interesting ride,” said TSBDC Director Charles Alexander. “When we started this TSBDC ten years ago, social media wasn’t really a thing and the big concern for entrepreneurs was spending money on the Yellow Pages. Since then we’ve had the Great Recession and a local economic boom.  This has been so much fun that I can’t believe I get paid to do it.  I get to selfishly see the help we provide, make an immediate impact on our community.  However, the real credit goes to the business owners.  It’s their hard work, risk, and determination that allows me to have this career.  I’m especially thankful to my supervisor Hilary Marabeti, our local donors, and my sidekick, Dave Jose for making this center thrive.”

Pictured: Celebrating successful businesses helped by TSBDC. The 2016 Rising Star Award recipients, Body Kneads, Inc of Lebanon. Pictured left to right: Charles Alexander, director of the Vol State TSBDC; Julie Miller-Wilson and Heather Hull, of Body Kneads; Dave Jose; Hilary Marabeti, assistant vice president for Continuing Education and Economic Development; and Jerry Faulkner, Vol State president.

Nice Day for a Bike Ride

The Vol State Cap and Gown Ride may be a new name, but the event provided the same fun atmosphere as the former Cycling Classic bike ride. Cyclists appreciated the near perfect weather on Saturday morning. More than a hundred riders participated in three different tour lengths from 15 to 63 miles, each of which started at the Vol State campus in Gallatin and wound through scenic Sumner County. Afterwards, cyclists were treated to barbecue and music. This is the fourth year for the fundraiser which goes to support student scholarships. The amount raised is still being calculated. 

Congrats to a Former Faculty Member

George Wilson may have left the state of Tennessee, but his impact is still being remembered. The Institute of Supply Management-Nashville has designated George as "Education Person of the Year" for 2017. ISM-Nashville previously awarded George the "Volunteer of the Year" award for 2012 and the "William L. Burns Leadership" award for 2013. George thanks his friends and colleagues Don Ellis and Andrew Singer for getting him involved in ISM-Nashville. George says he is very gratified to have so many of his Students win ISM-Nashville scholarships over the years, including Cynthia Sasser, Shannon Rizzo, Carrie Irvin, Jeff Hartmann, Dawn Leady, JT Kemper, Ron Moe, CJ Kolek, Kelly Dean, and Gayle Wilmore. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Awesome Brother-Sister Story at Graduation

So many great stories at graduation this year...but one has stood out as a favorite.

After having to drop out of Tennessee Tech University 18 years ago to take care of his mom and sister, Ferrell Lewis finally took the stage at Vol State's Commencement ceremony Saturday with an A.A.S. in Computer Information Technology. Ferrell's sister, Feylyn flew in from England to surprise him just before the ceremony started. Their mom, Darline Lewis was there to enjoy the magical moment as well. Congratulations, Ferrell!

Feylyn wrote up the whole story in the Huffington Post- it's quite moving. Congrats to an awesome family. 

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean came to commencement to cover TN Promise students graduating. They have a nice piece with tons of great pictures for the online version (sadly no pics in the printed version).

Graduate awards are also in the news in the Tennessean Sumner edition.

The Entertainment Media Production scholarship program with Starstruck Entertainment in Nashville received press coverage recently.

A Surprise Award for Stephanie

A big surprise recently for Stephanie Coker of the IT Department. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Higher Education Information Technology Symposium. It's a statewide honor. Organizers went to great lengths to keep the honor a secret. It was given out at the Symposium in April. Her boss, Kevin Blankenship, was enlisted to help get her to the conference, which she was not planning on attending. He mentioned that she needed to moderate a panel and that there was a room available. So, Stephanie attended. And then came the awards banquet.

"They start reading facts about the person (receiving the award). They start reading things and then you realize it's you. They outlined my entire career at the college, without giving out the name until the very end. It was a big shock."

Now Stephanie has an important job coming up next year. It will be her responsibility to make sure the award recipient makes it to the symposium without knowing about the honor.

Congratulations to Stephanie. It's just another recognition of how talented and hardworking our Information Technology folks are here at Vol State.